MONDAY MAN – Passion for community work
His dream is to empower young people.Orson Cummins, 60, said as long as he has health and strength, he would continue to do community-based work.“I like helping people and like to be involved in community-based work. To be honest, as long as I have health and strength I will continue my community work,” he said.The Factory Avenue, Wildey, St Michael community resident said he was instrumental in setting up a number of community-based organisations in the Pinelands and Wildey area. According to Cummins, his association with community events started from the time he lived in The City.“I was born and raised in The City and during that time I used to be associated with the Beverly Hills Sports Club and various other organisations in The City. So I found it pretty easy, when I got to The Pine and Wildey area, to gel into community service.“I came to Wildey to live in 1975 and while living there I got my association with Hamilton Lashley and from then we started to get involved in various associations. At the time they had the Pinelands Development Council and I was asked to be a member of that. I grew from there,” said Cummins.He said one of the things he was most helpful in setting up included the fist Pinelands Calypso Contest.“During that time we had persons such as Anderson Blood Armstrong who is now so popular. He was then Young Blood. He entered that competition . . . then we started to do our street fairs. We used to have some of the biggest street fairs within the Pinelands community.“That time the two village street fairs were the Wildey street fair and the Clapham one. After that we decided in the 1980s . . . to carry on the street fairs and every year we do them,” said the father of four grown men.Cummins said he and another man came up with the idea of Hospital Jammin’ in 1982.“We were always planning and looking to be innovative. That time Crop-Over wasn’t as large as it is now. During a Crop-Over time in 1982 we carried a band to the Stadium called Hospital Jammin’ and we won best community band that year. We competed with some of the other major bands,” Cummins said, smiling.He said soon after that they put together a domino team and “produced good players”. Cummins said he was also instrumental in setting up the first Pinelands Junior Calypso Competition.“I went to Khiomal Nurse’s mother and asked her if she would allow her son to sing and she said as long as I bring back her son after rehearsal . . . . So we moved with him from then. We had the competition and Khiomal was the first junior champion. Now he is one of Barbados’ best.“We still have the Pinelands domino club going. Even before Government decided to come up with the constituency councils, we within the area used to have community councils where I was also a member. And now I am a member of the established St Michael South-East constituency council,” said Cummins.Cummins attended St Mary’s Primary School, then went on to St Leonard’s Boys’ School and later to the Federal High School.He now works with the national camp programme and when he is not with that scheme Cummins is lending a helping hand at the St Michael South Constituency.He said his vision was to see young people in Barbados empowered.“My dream is to empower the young people and as a born again Christian, I would love to see them come closer to God. I would like to sit down and relax and say, well, Barbados is in good hands with the youth. We have some wonderful, educated and innovative young people in Barbados,” said Cummins.He had some advice for young people.“Try to be positive. Choose carefully the company that you keep. Establish yourself to be a leader and not a follower and have a mind of your own. Think for yourself and get close to God,” Cummins recommended.